Thursday, August 11, 2011

Are you a giver or a taker?

Recently over lunch a friend and I shared different stories of how someone had taken advantage of us. As we chatted we came to the conclusion that in life there are givers and there are takers.

When you are giver, it is second nature to want to help someone. I remember years ago meeting up with someone who was starting a group similar to Company of Women. I shared information freely, wanting to help her be successful and avoid some of the mistakes I’d made.

Imagine my surprise when I went to her launch to see not only how she’d benefited from my advice, she’d copied everything we did. I mean everything. Even the website looked like a replica. Now I have to take some ownership for the outcome because I never spelled out that she couldn’t copy our material but that was because it never crossed my mind that she would. I guess I was naive.

I am not sure if it is this tight economy, but more and more I am bumping up against the takers, who put making money (for themselves) above all else. And I never learn. I guess I see everyone through my own rose-tinted glasses, and believe that they will work with the same integrity I bring to my business.

But sadly no. As both my friend and I have found. It is discouraging, and it makes us givers, less willing to give and more cynical about these “win-win” alliances.

I guess at the end of the day, all you can do is take responsibility for your own actions. Act with integrity, and know that at least you can sleep at night, having been true to your values.


Anonymous said...

I believe so much in what your saying. I haven't experienced this in business...yet. But most definitely in my personal life. Very wise words.

The Universe Lady said...

I had a life changing event in July at a week long meditation retreat I attended in Whistler. One set of workshops was based on Deepak Chopra's, Seven Spiritual Laws of Success. There were 2 laws that had a particular impact on me that I can honestly say changed my life and my relationship with myself, with my husband, others and my work.

One was the Law of Giving and Receiving. The second was the Law of Detachment.

I've learned that to truly give, I must do with joy, without expectation. It has been a tough lesson over a long period of time. I learned, when I give with attachment, with rules or expecting something in return, or a behaviour that suits me, then I'm not truly giving. When I remember to take a lesson from nature, then I know what to do. The sun shines, a flower blooms, a bird sings - all giving me pleasure, a smile, a sense of well-being - and all is given to me without expectation, without attachment. It just is. When I apply that to giving in a relationship, personal or work related, then I can only feel joy. It a day to day process to be sure, but the return is wonderful and usually more than what I gave. I guess in business one way to put it is, the ROI is significant.

And then there is receiving, my biggest lesson. How often do we hear someone say when given a compliment - 'oh, this old thing' or when you give a gift and you hear 'you shouldn't have', 'why did you do that?' What is wrong with us that we can't simply accept it with love, with the assumption it was given from caring rather than an ulterior motive. The same too often applies when someone loves us. We hang on to our baggage rather than give ourselves permission to simply receive, without rules, without 'shoulds', or assumptions. Are we not deserving? When we can receive love with the same acceptance and joy that the beauty of a flower or a sunset can give us - which means taking the time to appreciate them - then we know joy.

So the lesson for me has been to ask myself when I give love, help, advise - why am I doing this? Am I expecting something in return? Am I attached to the outcome? If I answer yes to any of these, then it isn't really a give and hopefully I have the wisdom to choose not to do it because it's likely I will feel hurt or disappointed in the end.

When I gave myself permission to receive love, to let go of the tapes in my head, I gained a fresh and renewed sense of self and amd more joy than I ever imagined. And the bonus is, in the receiving I am giving in so many ways and that feels so good.

Can these lessons apply to business? I think they have to. I think that when we do anything related to work with passion, with love, with compassion, with positive intention, we can and will, only reap the rewards. I believe one of the most important reasons Company of Women has become the success it has is because of the environment of warmth and acceptance it has created for all women to bathe in. Your passion, caring, compassion and positive intention, Anne, is reflected throughout the organization and the people who come to it. You are a giver - and them that takes - well, they needed it and what they do with it is actually another give from you to those who will benefit as a result. And that's a good thing.


Unknown said...

People are funny. You can be a strong person and know your own mind and have firm values and follow your own path but when someone doesn't play nice and does something like that you feel wobbly and start to second guess yourself about eveything.
Talking about it with family and friends puts a perspective on things and pulls me back to centre.
I like to look myself in the mirror too.